SIDNEY —The Sidney Zoning Board of Appeals approved a request to construct an addition at the Shelby County Jail during Monday’s meeting. The board also tabled a variance request of a front yard setback for an accessory building on Fair Road in the single family residence district.
The request of K2M Designs, on behalf of Shelby County Commissioners, to construct the addition at the jail, located at 555 Gearhart Road in the B-2 District, is for prisoner intake.
Barbara Dulworth, community development director, said the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is a conditionally permitted use in the B-2 district as a municipal or government building for the general administrative activity of a governmental entity.
The correctional facility is a principally permitted use in the I-2, general industrial district, but is not listed as a permitted use in any other district. She said the proposed addition is necessary to segregate air handling systems of the existing jail and the area where new inmates are processed.
The board, with the exception of absent board member Jim Fortkamp, unanimously voted to approve the construction.
The request of Tom Martin for a variance to reduce the required setback of an accessory building from a street frontage at 901 Fair Road was tabled. The property is located in the R-1, single family residence district. Martin is proposing constructing a 16-foot by 43-foot garage accessory to the dwelling for storing a motorhome.
Dulworth recommended the board to deny the request because city staff was unable to find extraordinary circumstances that do not generally apply to this neighborhood and district.
She noted variances are intended to provide flexible development regulations for circumstances in which there is evidence of undue hardship or practical difficulty. In this case, there is no evidence of either condition. While the lot is narrow, it is similar in size, shape and arrangement to most of the lots in this neighborhood.
Board Chair Tom Ehler asked Martin if there is heavy traffic in the area. Martin told him “not really,” and he will not be pulling his motorhome in and out of the garage every day like his truck.
Center Street resident Sue Krites, whose road is adjacent to Fair Road and Martin’s home, spoke in opposition to granting the variance. She said the proposed garage will create a blind spot and create a safety hazard for Center Street residents and children who walk along the road to and from school. She disagreed with Martin that traffic is not heavy. She said there are a lot of cars that use Center Street as a short cut to Fair Road and to drop off and pick up students nearby. Krites provided several pictures of the corner of Fair Road and the area near Martin’s house, including an aerial view of Center Street and Fair Road.
Krites told the board although she understands Martin is looking forward to using his motorhome in retirement, she wants to keep Center Street as safe as possible and sees the proposed garage as a detriment. She said a garage for his motorhome is a luxury and not a necessity, and suggested he store the vehicle in a nearby storage facility.
When asked for his response to Krites, Martin said he was caught off-guard because he doesn’t agree he would be putting anyone in jeopardy. He said he tried to think of everyone there and make the property value better since he moved there in 1995.
Center Street property owner John Coffield said he knows Martin and everything he does is first class. Coffield told the board he has no problem with Martin building the garage.
Fair Road resident Cheryl Hubble said traffic is terrible in the area because of the Sidney Middle School. She said the garage would block her view, but she mostly expressed concern about water drainage and worried it could cause more drainage problems for her home.
Board member Richard Sommer asked Martin what type of building will the garage be, to which Martin said it will be built to match and be just like his home with a foundation, concrete floor, siding, etc.
Board member Mary Paulus asked Dulworth for further clarification about where the variance will be located on his property. Dulworth said the variance is adjacent to Center Street, and the closest it gets to the right of way is 8-feet, and the city’s zoning code requires accessory buildings in line with the house. The variance requested, Dulworth said, is to allow the building to moved 4-feet forward toward Center Street from the line of Martin’s house.
Sommer made a motion to accept the request for the variance. Dulworth said the board does need to present the standards to be met and staff was unable to identify the extraordinary circumstance is order for the variance to be accepted.
Ehler then asked Martin if he wanted to table the request until the November meeting while Dulworth conducted more work to identify an extraordinary circumstance to accept the request. Martin said he was fine with tabling the request.
The board unanimously voted to table the request until November.
The board also voted to excuse Fortkamp Monday.
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